Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Yet another intense day dawns for the Vendée Globe

[Source: Vendée Globe] With memories of last year’s Transat Jacques Vabre perhaps well to the fore in his mind, Loick Peyron made his move last night to gybe back to the west and cover any further gains from the trio of Jean-Pierre Dick (Paprec-Virbac 2), Armel Le Cléac’h (Brit Air) and Vincent Riou (PRB).

Le Cam gybed back west too, but Peyron took no chances after seeing his rivals gain consistently. One year ago, racing two handed with Jean-Baptiste Levailant in the TJV, Gitana Eighty erred too far east, hemorrhaged miles and finished a disappointing ninth.

Another long night of strategic decisions, examining the meteo models, trying to second guess or responding to their rivals’ moves but Loïck Peyron on Gitana Eighty emerges with a lead of 6.7 miles ahead of Jean Le Cam (VM Matériaux) as the leading group line up for the Doldrums.

A happy Loïck Peyron sails, holding the top spot of the Vendée Globe leadeeboard. South of the Cape Verde Islands, 18 November 2008. Video copyright Vendée Globe

Le Cam gybed and is now making a more westerly course, some 75 miles to the east of Peyron, while the trio who have for a long time held the western routing are now working close to due south. Speeds have dropped right down now with ENE’ly winds struggling to top 10 knots.

Fourth placed Jean-Pierre Dick (Paprec Virbac) has lead the western pack’s advance, sailing west of the Cape Verdes yesterday, gaining more than 20 miles overnight making no gybes while Peyron made two during the night to consolidate his position.

Mike Golding, GBR, (Ecover 3) has seen his distance to the leader drop pleasingly since yesterday, now very much back in touch with Peyron, Le Cam and third placed Seb Josse (BT). From being 106 miles behind, Ecover 3 is now 54 miles behind Gitan Eighty this morning and still advancing.

Brian Thompson has also succeeded in shrinking his margin to the lead to 158.6 miles, from over 260 miles two days ago. While Golding lies seventh, Thompson is 11th with 61.5 miles to catch 10th placed Jérémie Beyou on Delta Dore.

Of those who had to restart again Dominique Wavre, SUI, (Temenos II) is now up to within 1 mile – in terms of distance to finish – of Sam Davies, GBR, (ROXY).

Michel Desjoyeaux (Foncia) continues to reel back miles on the fleet leaders,, making the best speed average in the fleet. From a maximum distance from the fleet leaders of 671.3 miles Desjoyeaux has gained to 527.7 miles this morning in 19th place.

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